Tag Archives: sacrifice

Boys at War… a Welcome Home Poem

I wrote this poem in 2003. So many U.S. Soldiers, both men and women, were leaving for Iraq, to fight in a war while the rest of us lived our lives in comfort and peace. My friend’s son was one of the soldiers who fought in Iraq. I presented her with a copy of this poem to encourage her and give her hope. I prayed with her, and together we asked God to bring her son safely back home. God heard our prayers, and every Memorial Day is a sweet reminder of God’s great mercy. But many soldiers were not as fortunate.  Many died, and many came back with severe physical injuries, and emotional injuries too. We don’t always understand God’s plan, but the silver lining is that God is good, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Rom. 8:28 New International Version).

That same year in 2003, I had the honor of my poem being chosen for a reading at our small town’s memorial service which took place under the gazebo in Rose Hill Park. This poem is called “Boys at War,” as a tribute to the men who have gone before us, when only boys were soldiers heading off to fight in a war. But this poem is still meant to honor ALL those who have gone to war on behalf of our country, both men and women, who have sacrificed their lives for the rest of us. This is for the soldiers who have made it home, and the soldiers who have not. It is to thank you, because we understand, that freedom is not free.

Boys at War 

Say a prayer, for our boys are at war.
What in the world are they fighting for?

Just that… our world… to keep it free.
They fight for you. They fight for me.

They risk their lives to save our own.
They’re in our hearts; they’re not alone.

God bless our boys, and let them know,​
America’s proud and loves them so.

Protect their heads down to their feet.
So they’ll come marching down our street

To flags and shouts of, “Welcome Home!”
Where freedom rings, so they can roam.  

And for the boys who don’t return,
Our tears will fall, our hearts will yearn.

Dear Lord, we know that some will die,
And they’ll be welcomed in the sky.

Comfort loved ones filled with sorrow.
Thank you, God, for our tomorrow.

When we’ve lived past 97,
We’ll bring flags with us to Heaven,

Smiling at each soldier’s face,
We’ll rejoice, and then embrace.

At that parade with lots of noise,
We’ll all yell thanks to God’s Brave Boys!

© 2003 by Angela Royse Pelleman

No matter what happens here on Earth, soldiers and their loved ones who receive Jesus, will one day be reunited in Heaven! 

“He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away’ ” (Rev. 21:24).

Two are Better than One… The Healing Joy of Friendship

Today I am one month into my recovery from back surgery. While I still have pain, I’m getting around a lot better. I love my home, but I start to go stir crazy if I don’t get outside to breathe in some fresh, clean air. I’ve been getting that slightly overwhelming feeling of wondering how I will ever catch up on things that were never caught up on in the first place; especially when it’s still too early in my recovery to even begin the catching up! 

But I’ve been faithfully sharing God’s love with others. I’ve been meeting some wonderful people in the process, following where God leads me, and learning a bit more about the direction of my ministry; along with the plans God has for me and my family for the future. All this is because God has provided me with rest. 

This week God said it was time to get outside! He immensely blessed both my daughter and me with a sunshiny day at the park! It was one of those “God Moments” where you just know He has his hands all over it, so you can have a slice of joy! 

With a last minute weather check, on a whim we invited several friends to join us, and were delighted to find that almost all of them could meet us there! Since I’m unable to drive yet, one of my friends kindly picked up half of us at my house. My other friend had dropped her girls off at my house, so they could come too. Even though she couldn’t stay, I was blessed by her smile and huge hug. My sweet friend who was the driver, patiently waited as we searched for shoes, because we couldn’t find the ones my daughter needed for the playground. She also carried my cooler and my other bag, insisting I didn’t need to be handling them. 

She cheerfully got all the girls into the car, and still doesn’t know how grateful I am that she was such a good sport about us not being ready to go when she arrived. She just smiled and chatted, as my daughter made her jelly sandwich for her little picnic treat. My friend didn’t seem phased at all by the mess of toys and shoes, which had been slowing building over the last two days. It felt like a fresh spring breeze had just entered my home, and her joy gave me a peek at the fun day we were going to have at the park. I felt myself relax, as my friend patiently adjusted the seats in her car, so we could all fit. I wasn’t able to help, and just felt incredibly grateful for her willingness to go out of her way to pick us up out in the country. 

We were late to the park, but thankfully I managed to remember to check my phone, because my other friend wasn’t sure which park was the meeting place. I told I was sorry we were running late, and we were happy to find her already waiting for us when we arrived. I cherished her warm hug, and as an added bonus; she had brought me two dozen fresh eggs from her farm! 

Soon my other girlfriend was pulling up with her energetic, lovable crew! She lives farther away, and we’d been wanting to get together for a while now. I had ordered some of her beautiful handcrafted soaps; because pure,  handmade soaps are the only kind I use. They are a tiny slice of happiness, because they’re good for my skin, look pretty, and smell wonderful! I decided to see if my friend would be able to bring her girls to the park the next day. She could bring the soaps with her. My daughter and I were so excited when they said they would be coming!

As my friends got to know each other, our children did too. They played in the beautiful sunshine; climbed ladders and flew down slides, chased each other, blew bubbles, and giggled as they tried out the baby swings! We moms talked about homeschooling, family life, friendships, and farming. Everybody said they wanted to meet again soon, and have another day like this together. It was finally time for my friends to go to soccer games, prepare dinner, and attend to farm chores. Even though I had arranged a ride home, each busy friend still offered to make herself available to drive my daughter and me back home. This made me feel loved and cared for, in a way they probably don’t even realize. 

I was incredibly grateful for my husband, making his way through town, doing some errands for me, before he came to pick us up at the park. He was making sure prescriptions were filled, and grocery runs were complete. He even offered to pick up take-out, though he’d offered to make dinner already. So many times he has done these things for us, but it seems so much sweeter, when he’s doing it to help me heal, and so we can enjoy some time out with friends. 

I still have this deep sense appreciation and awakened joy for all the little things that add up to make a God day, into a great day. I know it’s from God; the silver lining of sweet joy to keep me going through the pain and redundant routine of recovery.  I thought about how some people don’t even have cars. They have to navigate rides all the time. I felt so grateful that God had navigated all my rides for me, so my daughter and I could enjoy a perfect day at the park. We’d had fun giving out packages of colored chalks and bottles of bubbles to our friends. They were leftover prizes from our church’s  Easter in the Park. For me it was a small way of continuing the celebration and joy of Easter with the precious little people in our lives. For, aren’t we always ministering to each other in our friendships, as we seek to be all Jesus calls us to be?

My husband who always takes care of us, picked us up in perfect timing, and assisted my daughter with some tricks on the monkey bars. We went home tired and happy, with sun-kissed cheeks. The joy of friendship filled my heart, and my daughter’s eyes were bright with happiness from all the fun with her girlfriends. She’d even met a new friend, before we left. She’s like that; she makes friends wherever we go.

When I got home, I was hit with a migraine. I’ve been battling them for the last two months. And unfortunately, I get them after spending time in the sun. The pain was intense, and it wiped me out. Though I was now toast for the rest of the evening; it did not take away from the joy of our wonderful adventure that day. We had come home with a stash of farm fresh eggs,beautiful handcrafted soaps, plans for additional fun homeschool classes with friends for next year, and a reminder of our lovely day with treasured friends in our small town. More healing occurred in a day with friends, than could happen in a week without them! Thank you God for friendship!

“Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble” (Eccles. 4:9-10 New Living Translation).

Be a friend; gain a friend!

                                 

                              ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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Related blog posts:

Surgery Day: Trusting God Through Trials
Recovery Week 1: The Family That Prays Together…
Recovery Week 2: The Unexpected Joy of Rest
Recovery Thoughts: Healing is a Journey
Recovery Week 2-1/2: It’s Palm Sunday! Rejoice!
Recovery Week 3: The Healing Love of Strawberry Rhubarb Pie 

When You’re Sick, God Shows Up… Because He’s Already There!  

Exactly one week ago, was the big surgery day. For a while, I’ve thought the surgery was long overdue, but now I can see that God planned it to be this way all along. I want my family, friends, readers, writers, church, and even very kind strangers; to know that last week God showed up… He heard all your prayers, answered many of them, and more answers are on the way! 

I already know Jesus is the Great Physician, and I know He is a Miracle Maker. I’ve witnessed miraculous recoveries among my own family members. So I know God is good… and I know He shows up. But I needed your prayers, and I want you to know that prayer is powerful! I want the people in my life to know that there is great power in being anointed by your pastor, and your spouse, and any Christian who comes faithfully asking for your healing in the name of The Father, The Son, and the Holy Spirit. This is because we do the serving, but God is The One showing up. “Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord” (Jas. 5:14 New International Version).


I first hurt my back in 8th grade. My best friend and I were choreographing a dance, and as I moved to bend over at the waist, I was shocked to find myself stuck. I couldn’t straighten up into a standing position, so I lay frozen, awkwardly flat on my back, on her bed for a half an hour. I was terrified. She was worried about me, so she said she was getting her dad. I was afraid of her dad, so I managed to stand, while wobbling and leaning against her, and she walked me home. There was no attention given to my injury, and no doctor appointment. I just remember gradually getting better over the next several days, and hoping that this scary event would not happen to me again. 

God must have had mercy on me, because it didn’t seem to be big deal to anyone but me and my best friend, and she couldn’t help me. God gracefully healed me, so that I remained active in gymnastics, volleyball, and cheerleading. I had more problems with asthma, and my bad knees, than with my back. But over the years, my back would give out, and I’d be out of commission for about three days. I got used to it. It was just a familiar part of my life. I finished college, got a job teaching, got married to my husband, and finally became pregnant with twin boys. 

The double pregnancy was in itself, its own trial, forcing me to continuously keep my eyes focused on the silver lining that lay up ahead. It felt like death was at my door; I vomited for five months straight, 30 times a day, losing weight fast. Though my precious boys were very tiny at 2 lbs. 15 oz. and 3 lbs. 5 oz., my back was never the same after that difficult pregnancy, which at 29 weeks, brought forth immense joy… I was blessed with the most beautiful premature baby boys I’d ever seen! 

I began to exercise in order to get back my trim figure. I’d always been skinny, but I was just looking to get back to the size I’d been before my pregnancy. When I threw out my back again, the doctor told me to stop doing the exercises where I had to lie on my back. Unfortunately, this meant most of the ones from my routine, which was actually beginning to flatten my belly. I became discouraged and stopped exercising altogether. I couldn’t go walking either, not until my husband got home from work, and by then we were both exhausted from caring for two babies who continued to fight for their lives. To go anywhere, we had to lug a heart and lung machine monitor for each one, and an oxygen tank for one of them. It was just too much. Even with staggered help and support, our new, little family was so very tired. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matt.11:28).


When my boys were two years old, I threw my back out and ended up stooped over, unable to stand straight. People around my small town knew me by my young, stooped figure. Physical therapy got me standing agaian, but it also began years of constant MRI’s and X-rays, physical therapy, chiropractors, pain management, steroids and epidural injections. One office told me they weren’t giving up on me, but they just didn’t know how to help me find pain relief from my herniated disk. A trial run of burning the nerves in my back, showed the right spot had been found, but since the practice run gave only short-term relief, the official procedure wasn’t considered long-term treatment for me. I was so discouraged, because as the lidocaine ran through my body, I was exhilarated to be able to bend over and touch my toes with no pain whatsoever for an entire hour. It was short-lived. 

I headed “over the mountain,” towards the city, where most people from my small town tended to find higher quality care, when facing more serious medical issues. I found a great doctor; one I really liked, who was compassionate, honest, and thorough. He was also truly dedicated, and determined to find alternate procedures in an effort to prevent the inevitable… surgery. I was diagnosed with lumbosacrial and cervical spondylitis; a painful condition resulting from degeneration of intervertebral disks in the neck and lumbar areas, myofascial pain, degenerative disk disease, osteoarthritis, and more. There were steroid and epidermal injections, trigger point injections for muscle spasms, and lumbar radiofrequency neurotomy to treat facet joint pain or sacroiliac joint pain caused by my degenerative disk disease. My doctor performed a discogram, and the extreme pain confirmed that my damaged L-5 disk was indeed the culprit, along with the S-I joint. He even injected methylene blue, which surprisingly brought about 30 percent relief, for just a couple months, but overflowed and spilled out, because there was so little room in the shrunken disk. 

After the procedure, my body got chilled, and I had to lie under warm blankets for an hour. I shook, and my teeth chattered. I don’t know if it was shock, or the effects of the procedure, but I knew I didn’t want to ever have a discogram again, or go through anything like it.  There were other possible procedures which we decided against. My doctor didn’t feel confident enough that they would work, and didn’t want to waste my money. I was sent to one of his colleagues for Platelet-Rich Plasma treatments, where so many vials of blood were taken to use my platelets, I lost count. Neither procedure took; in fact one damaged the ligaments in my coccyx area, and three doctors verified it was because mistakes had been made. I had another extremely painful procedure to try and repair the damage. I was basically bedridden for three weeks afterward. I was tired of hurting. All. The. Time.

Right after my precious daughter was born (thankfully I had survived another bout of unrelenting nausea, which left me bed-ridden for four months) my son became extremely, chronically ill with Eosinophilic Esophagitis; a debilitatating disease with no cure. He was my main focus, and I put my own health on hold, as any mother does who earnestly prays and diligently searches for relief for her beloved children. Our new baby girl brought us joy in the storm, a beautiful distraction from the sadness and pain of the sickness. Three years later, God chose to miraculously heal my son, when I was out of state caring for my father who had cancer. It was emotionally and financially draining to be away from my family for three flights out of state that summer. My surgery and our addition would have to wait; for God had something else in mind.

I was away for a sum total of two months, but God is faithful. He healed not only my son, while I was away, but my father too. Both had been anointed and both had approximately 500 people praying for them. God showed me the healing power of forgiveness that summer, and He showed me that my children are in the best hands always… His hands! I went home exhausted, and in chronic pain, but with love in my heart, and no regret. I went back to teaching Sunday School, but finally had to take a break. I’d become very, very sick; unable to do anything at all. I knew I had picked up something serious from being at the ICU at the hospital, and from being sole caretaker for weeks at a time, around so much sickness and suffering. I was right; the diagnosis finally came: a staph infection in my sinuses. I was truly running only on Holy Spirit fumes. 

My back surgery had already been put on hold several times. I was still dealing with plantar fasciitis, which caused severe pain in my feet when I walked. I also continued to battle pain from the degeneration of the two disks in my neck. I also had emergency shoulder surgery, because of rotater cuff syndrome, along with a bone spur and arthritis in my shoulder, which prevented me from lifting my arm above shoulder level. The shoulder surgery was successful, though it required prolotherapy treatment to fully heal. During all this time, I continued to homeschool my children, run to even more doctors appointments for all of us, and teach Sunday School. It seemed there was no relief in sight. I began to wonder if I was supposed to sacrifice my life until I dropped. If Jesus did it, maybe I was supposed to just keep going, even though I felt like my body was breaking to pieces. But how would that be good for my family who needed me?

God told me it was time to rest. He let me know that Jesus already sacrificed his life for me, and I was not meant to run on empty. My husband supported me, and said it was time to take care of myself.  I realized I’d put things off, because I’d been taught to feel guilty for doing nice things for myself. It was so ingrained, I even felt guilty doing the very things I needed to do to save my own life. There’s never a perfect time, yet the time was perfect. I’d already met with several surgeons over the past few years. I met with two more, and chose the surgeon my doctor had highly recommended I talk to, before making my final decision about going through with the surgery. He correctly insisted I needed an expert, someone highly proficient and skilled, experienced and specialized in complicated back surgeries. I was grateful to both of those last two surgeons on my list, who had confirmed a completely collapsed disk, validation that there was nothing there to support the bones which rubbed against each other every time I moved. The rubbing irritating nerves, and my spine’s instability was indeed causing excruciating pain. 

So here I lie, writing while recovering, grateful for the love and care being shown to me in the midst of this trial. I want those who have been praying for me to know God has heard your prayers, and is already giving answers (good ones, because it is the only kind He gives!). My surgeon said the surgery went “perfectly!” Well, Jesus was there, after all, so perfect is a great word choice! My surgeon said I will now be taller, because I was missing a disk before; and adding space has given me more height. How cool is that? My daughter is tall, and I love that I can tell her that I’m now taller too!  

I’m doing well, in spite of being tired and dealing with pain. I’ve had a cage inserted into my spine with screws to hold it together. The cage is made of bone grafting material, which will grow into my own bone.  I’m very, very sore! The site of the injection hurts like crazy, and I can’t twist, bend, or lift more than five pounds. It’s going to take a while to feel like myself again, but… Praise The Lord! He brought me through it all! He even took away my anxiety, which is HUGE considering my past major struggle with the spirit of Fear! “Heal me, LORD, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise” (Jer. 17:14).


I’m appreciating all the prayers, along with both the big things and the little things; because little things to me, are big treasures! May God bless everyone who has been here for me; near and far, who has taken time to offer up a prayer for me, and my family, in the name of Jesus. I’m taking you on this journey, not for attention or pity or popularity; or whatever other silly reasons are out there, but because I want God to be glorified in all of this! I don’t even know the end of the story, but I’ve chosen to JUST TRUST HIM! 

I originally wrote this the day after my surgery but did not complete and edit it until one week afterward. I now realize that God has wanted me to rest, while enjoying the love, support, and encouragement from family and friends. He has given me this time to prepare to write words centered around a theme of “healing” during the rest of Lent, and to provide others with hope in the midst of trial and storm. God has even led me to explore and share some wonderful writings from other gifted and talented writers, and I’m excited to see what He is putting together! He continues to provide confirmation via wonderful feedback from brothers and sisters in Christ. What joy it gives me, to be reminded that God is always in control; using every seed we plant to bless and minister to others, and grow His Mighty Kingdom. During this time of trial, God has been showing me the silver lining; connecting me to special people, giving me more ideas for the future of The Silver Lining, and letting me peacefully soak up the joy of how much He has already healed me, how He is healing me now, and the healing He is going to do in my future! It’s been a long time coming, but in God’s timing, everything is, well… just perfect! “He said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering’ ” (Mark 5:34).

Pursue Jesus! Trust him to heal you emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually according to his good and perfect will. Give God your body, heart, mind, and soul. Don’t miss your divine appointment; The Great Physician always shows up on time! 

Your healing can only begin through a relationship with Jesus Christ. Anything else is temporary, and short-lived. That’s because a good physician finds the root of the problem, and starts there. Jesus knows the answer to all our illnesses and ailments. In addition, he is a Miracle-Maker; someone no doctor on earth can truthfully claim to be.  For more, join The Silver Lining Facebook page, where encourage them, truth, and wisdom are posted every day! Also, visit my website. It is there as a gift to you! When you visit The Silver Lining homepage, click on the topic: Healing. Subscribe or follow, so you don’t miss truth-related blog posts that could lead you in God’s direction, which could actually help to save your life; both eternally, and here on earth! 

Blog posts directly related to this series on surgery and healing:

The Family that Prays Together…

The Unexpected Joy of Rest

Healing is a Journey

It’s Palm Sunday! Rejoice! 

The Healing Love of Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

 

The True Sacrifice of Lent and how you can take part

Little hearts during Lent 

When I was growing up, there were only two main religions on the Air Force Base. You were either Protestant or Catholic; there was nothing in between. I wished to be Catholic, because I liked that the children took communion wafers. No one realized that I already knew and loved Jesus, and had it been explained, I would have rejoiced in the partaking of communion. I also liked the way the Catholics made the sign of the cross across the front of their bodies after saying a prayer. I thought it to be beautiful. What I did not envy, was the time of Lent. Here’s where the Catholic children dramatically sighed and rolled their eyes, complaining that they would be deprived of candy or soda, or both… for 40 days up until Easter! We Protestant kids would shake our heads in sympathy, as sticky popsicle juice melted down our chins and arms, on a warm spring day.

Neither we Protestant, nor the Catholic children had really figured out that Lent is the 40 day period of time before Easter, when God’s children take time to repent and pray, and reflect upon the amazing sacrifice of Jesus Christ; God’s Son who willingly took our place on the cross, dying for our sins. The whole point of God sending a sacrifice was missed in childish translation, covered up by the tradition of giving up favorite sweets in order to prove loyalty and love to The Savior. Children want to be good, please Jesus, and show him that they love him. Children first need to know Jesus loves them, just as they are!

“Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these’ “Matt. 19:14 New International Version).

Lent and the Temptation of Christ

Traditions vary, according to region and religion, but traditionally Lent is a 40 day time period of reflection, repentance, prayer, and sacrifice; which begins on Ash Wednesday, and ends the Saturday before Easter, often with a special Easter Sunday feast to celebrate the risen Savior. Participating in Lent is a way for Christians around the world to recognize and remember that Jesus spent 40 days alone in the wilderness of the Scorching Judaean Desert, completely fasting from food. Yes. After being baptized by John the Baptist, Jesus truly went hungry for 40 days and nights to spend time solely with God, his Father, and focus God’s will for his life. This time of deep dependence on his Father would prepare him for his ultimate sacrifice, giving up his very own life to save the world from its sins.

When Jesus was at his most vulnerable, the devil came to try to tempt him. He offered up something pretty amazing; a huge glittering kingdom on a mountaintop… plus the food Jesus so desperately craved, needed, and desired. But the devil is a liar and can’t be trusted. And even if Satan would have handed it over, there was no way Jesus was accepting. His mission would be demolished and destroyed; the very mission meant to save us Christians from the burning fires of hell.

“‘All this I will give you,’ he said, ‘if you will bow down and worship me.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Away from me, Satan! For it is written: “Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.”‘ Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him” (Matt. 4:9-11).

Lent as a desire to draw closer to Christ 

If Jesus sacrificed so much for us, Lent is nothing in comparison, but it can give people a sense of walking with Christ, and experiencing (albeit on a much smaller scale) a minuscule taste of what Christ experienced those 40 grueling days. Though it was difficult, exhausting, draining, and seems utterly impossible; Jesus made it through. And in doing so, he was humbled, blessed, anointed, and brought even closer to God, his Heavenly Father.

Whatever Christians may choose to give up for Lent, be it diet soda, coffee, smoking, alcohol, carbs, chocolate, TV, social media, or other; let it be known that all God really wants is the sacrifice of our own lives; repentance of our sins and the laying down of our own desires, wicked ways and selfish gains. God wants us to let go of all the sin, pick up our cross, and follow Jesus! Otherwise, all our sacrifices are in vain. If one is going to participate in Lent, might I suggest sacrificing our time? Because, time given up and given to God, is time given up to pick up our cross and follow Jesus. If we spend more time focusing on Jesus, and less time focusing on ourselves; our little sacrifice will end up doing what pleases God the most: drawing us closer in our relationship with Jesus Christ! What sacrifice could bring The Holy Spirit more joy?

“Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it” (Matt. 16:24-25).

THE Sacrifice

If you do not participate in Lent, or if you do participate, and cave due to temptation, look for the silver lining: Jesus IS the sacrifice. He already paid the debt for our sins. You don’t have to be perfect, or strive for it. When you receive Christ, your sins are washed away, and you remain white as snow. You are washed free of the guilt, fear, anxiety, self-condemnation, and lies that get in the way of your hope leading to healing, joy, freedom, and peace in Jesus Christ! Jesus paid it already for you at the cross! Rejoice! Worship him! Give him praise!

” ‘Come now, let us settle the matter,’ says the LORD. ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool” (Isa. 1:18).

An invitation to take part in The Silver Lining Sacrificial Lent Blessing…

In 2017, Lent Season is from Ash Wednesday, March 1 to Saturday, April 15. Choose to complete some days during the Lent Season, or all 40 days. Choose from any of the sacrifices of time from below. You might want to do one of the choices for many days, or several of the choices for just a few days each. It doesn’t matter how you choose to offer God your sacrifice of time. The key is to do as The Lord God leads. You will be blessed!

Seven ways to take part:

~ Read a Proverb a day. There are 31 Proverbs in the Bible. When completed, read over your favorites for the remaining days, or choose another chapter of the Bible which you feel led to read. 

~ Journal out seven praises of thankfulness each day. At the end of Lent, you will look back on 280 blessings God has given to you! When you’re having a hard day, pull out your praise journal to remind you how much God loves and cherishes you! You may want to continue your journal after Lent. It’s a refreshing revelation to see the gifts God has given to you, penned out on paper!

– Journal out seven prayer requests each day, for yourself, and others. At the end of Lent, look back and see how many prayer requests God has answered! You will be amazed at God’s responses! Continue checking back to watch how God answers your prayers in His own perfect timing… for a reason!

– Journal out seven sins you struggle with, where you need God’s forgiveness. Each day, ask God to forgive you if you have committed any of these particular sins, again. Ask God to fill you with His Holy Spirit, and ask Him to break down the strongholds of these sins in Jesus’ name. At the end of Lent, look back at the growth God has completed in you, and thank Him for His grace and mercy and forgiveness!

– Pray first. Ask God to lay seven people on your heart for whom to pray. Lift these people up to Jesus each day. If possible, ask them how you can pray for them, and let them know you are praying for them. At the end of Lent, ask God to show you the many ways these people’s prayers have been answered! 

– Pray first. Choose seven small acts of service to do for God during Lent. Though these acts of service may bring joy to people, they should be first and foremost, acts of service to please Jesus. There may be a couple you don’t want to do, but you will be blessed! 

~ Pray first. Choose seven people to bless in small ways. Ask God to lay people on your heart who need it most. You will be surprised at some of the people who come to mind whom you didn’t expect! 

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God bless you, in Jesus’ name. He has risen!

Visit on Facebook to get involved, be encouraged, and share your experiences with The Silver Lining Sacrificial Lent Blessing.

Stumped by Forgiveness?

Forgiveness is a command given by God. Since Jesus forgave us, and died for our sins, we must forgive others. Though it’s true that forgiveness allows our offender to be released from guilt, sadness, and pain; forgiveness is necessary for us to be free from the roots of bitterness. If the roots of bitterness are not pulled up from the ground, the roots will grow deep and thick underground.

Like a stubborn old tree stump, we will remain, yet we will no longer bear fruit. Instead, the ugly ol’ stump will end up standing alone in the exact same place we wanted to plant a live, nourishing fruit tree. Removing bitterness allows for the removal of other strongholds such as: lies, fear, rejection, anger, selfishness, and more. It’s the doorway to healing and freedom!

Just think about it. If you’re mad at somebody right now, he or she may not even be aware of it. This person may be going about having a wonderful day, with no clue you’re sitting home seething about what that person did to offend you. Meanwhile you’re getting nothing accomplished except for building up a higher wall of resentment. Forgiveness doesn’t mean that you’re okay with what that person did to you; it just means that you’re releasing that person to God.

Forgiveness brings us closer to God, because forgiving people helps us to become more like Jesus. It’s how God prepares and perfects us, in preparation for bringing us home to live with Him in Heaven. We need to forgive people in the name of Jesus. Why? Because we can’t do it all by ourselves. Also, the forgiveness which comes from God is supernatural; it can take our hearts places we never imagined…all for our own personal healing…and better yet, for the glory of God and the growth of His Kingdom!

Forgiveness doesn’t mean you have to be friends with your offender. Forgiveness doesn’t mean you have to be a doormat for abuse. Forgiveness doesn’t mean you have to reconcile with someone who is unable to have a healthy, godly relationship with you. In fact, it may be that somebody actually needs to ask forgiveness of you. You can still forgive that person. Forgiveness just means letting go…and letting God.

Is there someone you have been struggling to forgive? Just pray: “I forgive ( name of offender) in Jesus’ name.” Then go about your day, and let Jesus work on your heart.

“Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.”
Col. 3:13 New Living Translation

The Good Life…Do We “DESERVE IT?”   (Compassion Series)

The flawless looking model on TV flashes her bright white teeth, but her smile doesn’t reach her eyes. Her pretend fiancé presents her with a jewelry box containing a pair of expensive diamond earrings. She looks at the camera and says you should have some too, because she insists, “You deserve it!” But I know I don’t, and neither does she. When the world tells us, “We deserve it,” it tells multiple lies to hopeful, hurting people.

The world tells us we deserve nice, expensive things because we are all awesome and wonderful people. The problem is, not everyone is awesome, and most people are not so wonderful either. In fact, none of us deserve anything, because we are all sinners. The world also lies by placing false requirements upon us. It deceives us by telling us we need to pay a lot of money to get the things we rightfully “deserve.” Advertisers and businesses want us to believe that we will become even more awesome and wonderful people if we buy their products. On top of that, the sad truth is these items are only going to temporarily make us feel better.

We are sinners: broken hurting people, raised by broken, hurting people, trying to raise broken, hurting people. That is not so awesome. But the silver lining is that we don’t have to stay that way. We have Jesus. Jesus is NO Band-Aid. Jesus is a HEALER. “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds” (Psalm 147:3 New International Version). Try as we may to: be a good person, do good deeds, spread goodness…we will never be good enough. We are only good because Jesus lives inside of us. If we continue to follow him, some of his awesome and wonderful goodness will rub off on us too.

We don’t deserve good things, best things, or better than best things. We deserve death: “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 6:23). Sin leads to death; so how can there be hope for anyone? Every day, people lie, cheat, steal, gossip, covet, blame, bully, envy, fight, cuss, and manipulate. People do these things with the intentions of being “good.” That’s because we are born with sin and will battle it until we die. But Jesus loves us still. “And so, Lord, where do I put my hope? My only hope is in you” (Psalm 39:7 New Living Translation).

In fact, Jesus loves us so much, that he agreed to sacrifice himself on the cross, as a love offering for you and me. He agreed to have our sins transferred unto himself. But Jesus was perfect! He didn’t deserve death! Yet, he took the punishment that each of us deserved, so we could have a chance to live forever! He took our punishment, so we wouldn’t be in danger of going to Hell. He never changed his mind, even though he could have chosen to save himself from torture and death at any moment. People spat on him. He took it. People insulted him. He took it. People beat him. He took it. People killed him… He died. And then… He LIVED! Why would anyone reject Our Savior who loves us so much? “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8 NIV).

Only with Jesus, do we become awesome and wonderful enough to enter the gates of Heaven. What if we sin? Those of us who accept the sacrifice, and ask Jesus into our hearts, are now cleansed of sin. “ ‘Come now, let us settle the matter,’ says the LORD. ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are as red as crimson, they shall be like wool ” (Isa. 1:18). If we have Jesus, we are forgiven through Christ! We no longer have to fear God’s judgment. We can’t get into Heaven without Jesus, because sin cannot be in the presence of God. It separates us from Him. Besides, God has promised us a perfect paradise in Heaven. The tiniest sin would spoil it, just like it did when Adam and Eve sinned in the garden. Isn’t it humbling that God is willing to give us everything we could imagine, including eternal life, even when we don’t deserve it? God offers us a free gift, His Son, Jesus Christ. When we accept the gift, we are receiving eternal life, and the salvation of our souls.

I’m so thankful for Jesus. I’m only good because he lives in me. Though I mess up and make mistakes over and over again, God forgives me, erasing all my sins: past, present, and future. Having a relationship with Jesus means he will help me to become more like him each and every day. I have to be willing to pick up my cross and follow Jesus. When I do this, God will bless me along the way. God gives me good things…not because I deserve them…but because He loves me, and He wants to bless me. And when I die, I will get the biggest reward of my eternal life…a reward which I don’t deserve, but a reward which I will eternally grateful to have; a life in Heaven with God, and His Son Jesus Christ, and all those I love who know him…amazing, incredible, paradise…and it will never, ever end!

“Then he said to them all: ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me’ ” (Luke 9: 23).

Part 1 in the 5-part Compassion Series: “Being Compassionate to Yourself through Jesus Christ”

Titles in this Compassion Series:

“The Good Life…Do We ‘DESERVE  IT?’ “

“You are Worthy”

“Be Good to Yourself”

“Why Am I So Hard on Myself?”

“Battling Lies that Hurt Us”

 

 

How to Invite Jesus into Your Heart and Receive Eternal Life!

Who is Jesus?

God is our perfect Creator. However, when sin entered the world we became fallen, sinful, and imperfect. No sin is allowed to enter Heaven, so we cannot make it to Heaven on our own.

Because God loves us, He sent His one and only Son, Jesus Christ, to become a living sacrifice for our sins. Jesus died on the cross for our sins. He took our punishment. He took our place, and would have died for you, even if you had been the only one left on earth. After three days, God raised Jesus from the dead. This miraculous resurrection means Jesus is alive!

Jesus offers salvation to each and every person on earth, so we can live in Heaven with him forever. He offers this great gift, because of his great love for us! To receive this gift, we need only to accept it. When we accept Jesus Christ, we become born again. With a repentant heart, we begin our relationship with Jesus. When we make a decision to invite Jesus into our lives, The Holy Spirit comes to reside within us, and our names are written in God’s book of life for eternity.

Prayer of Salvation:

Dear Jesus, I know I am a sinner. I believe you died on the cross for my sins. Please come into my heart today and forgive me of my sins. Cleanse my heart. I want a relationship with you. I’m choosing to follow you, and leave the ways of the world behind me. Thank you for sacrificing your life for me, so that I can receive eternal life, and live with you forever in Heaven. Thank you Jesus, for loving me!

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

John 3:16

“If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

Romans 10:9

New International Version